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Altria Will Pull Its E-Cigarette Pods From The Market

Altria                           MO 0.74% Group Inc. said it would pull its e-cigarette pods from the market and discontinue the sale of…


MO 0.74%

Group Inc. said it would pull its e-cigarette pods from the market and discontinue the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes in response to mounting concerns about a surge in underage use of similar products. 19659003] The move by the maker of Marlboro cigarettes comes after anti-smoking groups and US Health officials including the Food and Drug Administration have warned about a public health crisis from widespread use of e-cigarettes by teens and other children.

Altria’s e-cigarettes, sold under the MarkTen and Green Smoke brands, are just a small slice of the US market, which is currently dominated by upstart Juul Labs Inc. Juul sells its devices online in flavors such as mango and cucumber.

Altria represented 9% of the U.S. e-cigarette market for the year ended Oct. 6, according to a

Wells Fargo

analysis of Nielsen data. That does not include online sales. Juul accounted for 62%.

Altria said it would continue to sell e-cigarette products that resemble traditional cigarettes but limit them to tobacco, menthol and mint flavors until the FDA gives it approval for other flavors. Deze zogenaamde cig-a-achtige apparaten zijn minder populair bij kinderen dan apparaten die gebruik maken van refill pods die aromatische vloeistoffen bevatten.

The company said about 80% of its e-cigarette volume from the third quarter will remain on the market after it pulls the pod products and other flavors.

Given Altria’s small share of the pod business, some analysts have worried that rising sales of Juul devices could steal market share from Altria and also cannibalize the traditional cigarette business, where Marlboro still dominates the market.

On Thursday, Altria reported third quarter revenue rose 1

.6% from a year ago, but sales for the first nine months of the year are down 1.2% from a year ago to $ 19.3 billion. Shipments of Marlboro cigarettes were down 5.8% in the nine months, although Altria offset those declines with higher prices.

Altria said it would support federal legislation requiring a minimum age of 21 to purchase all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. Federal Law currently sets the minimum age at 18, although six states have raised the minimum age to 21.

“We believe e-vapor products present an important opportunity for adult smokers to switch from combustible cigarettes,” Altria CEO Howard Willard wrote in a letter to the FDA. “Yet, the current situation with the use of e-vapor products, left unchecked, has the potential to undermine that opportunity for adult smokers.”

Write to Jennifer Maloney at [email protected] com

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